How One Entrepreneur Built A Cannabis Business And Sold It …
WhenScott McGovern sold his 19-month-old cannabis media company Green Rush Daily to High Times magazine for $7 million, he’d built a website with 6.5 million unique visitors per month and cultivated a devoted social media following bolstered by a network of influencers and advertisers.
Two years earlier, the cannabis “green rush” was in its infancy and everyone was moving West. But McGovern wanted to work in the cannabis industry in New York City, the biggest market in America.
“New York, not to mention the nation on the whole, needed a reliable news source for cannabis information,” McGovern told Benzinga. At the time, most cannabis-related media was either negative or content that only appealed to stoners.
Today’s nascent cannabis-friendly media is nascent largely goes back to Green Rush Daily, McGovern said. “Green Rush Daily’stagline is‘The Voice of the Cannabis Revolution,’” he said.
Instead of appealing exclusively to stoners, McGovern built a media company for everyone curious about weed, from medical to recreational.
Creating viral content goes beyond restricting bias. Instead of modeling Green Rush Daily after competing cannabis media companies, McGovern turned to the data — specifically search data. “Everything I do is based on search,” he said. “Actually, my obsession with data and search engines predates cannabis.”
In other words,Green Rush Daily’s content mirrored what people were searching on Google. They published stories at specific times depending on search data that McGovern compiled and analyzed himself. Instead of creating content for content’s sake, McGovern and his team wrote for their audience.
While Green Rush Dailyboasted over 24 million monthly pageviews, its strength also lied in high-profile syndication partnerships, including Refinery29, Barstool Sports, Ranker and Rare Media.
McGovern also amassed a social network of influencers with over 1 billion combined followers: Ludacris, Tyga and Cheech and Chong have all shared Green Rush Daily’s content on Facebook.
Its Facebook videos have hundreds of millions of views, with one surpassing 65 million views and reaching over 200 million impressions. All of this was accomplished on an “unboosted Facebook post,” McGovern said.
In a world where most media companies have no limitations for promotion of content, Green Rush Daily could only drive traffic organically, McGovern said, citing, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB)’s anti-cannabis stance.
Not even two years into operations, Green Rush Dailywas acquired by High Times in a $6.9-million cash and stock deal, which included offering McGovern a position as executive vice president. “You don’t have to go to the West Coast to break into the cannabis industry,” he said. “There is so much opportunity everywhere.”
Disclosure: The author is a High Times contributor.